I asked Fred to go and do his because he has been to so many more countries than me but he just laughed and said he was too busy.
Fred travelled a lot last month but I saw him each weekend and I even travelled with him for 2 of the weeks. This was because he was doing all his work in Southern Ireland and drove everywhere.
Now this month he will travel much further away and I won't go on any of the trips with him and I will not have him home for all of the weekends.
In fact I will not have him home for many days at all for the rest of the month.
He is going to Sweden, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and finally back to Southern Ireland.
This will be his first visit to Abu Dhabi but it is not his first time to the other places.
Some years ago when he went to the Middle East he brought me back a little gift.
Now because Fred has travelled with work for many many years he has not brought home gifts every time. The first few trips he brought gifts for the children because they were young but then as the travelling continued he would only occasionally bring something back. Mostly he would bring me a plate from a new country or a different State in America because a plate from Delaware was the gift he had brought me on his first trip to America. So years later I ended up with quite a collection of plates.
But this little gift from the Middle East was not a plate - it was an Aladdin's Lamp.
The lamp is metal not plastic - we already had a plastic toy one that Linda had with the genie from the movie Aladdin.
It was not a very expensive item but rather attractive.
Fred knows me well enough to know that I like things that are a little bit different to the norm.
It sits in our dining room most of the time as an ornament but has occasionally been taken with me to be used as a visual aid when I'm speaking at a Kids meeting.
One of the first things I am always asked by the kids is
"Can you make a wish?"
"Is there anything inside?"
So the lid has to be lifted off and little eyes peer inside only to be disappointed that there is nothing there.
No the lamp is empty.
No it is not a real lamp.
It is not even an expensive item.
That little lamp reminds me of Fred every time I look at it and it makes me smile.
I don't think that I can get Fred back home by rubbing the lamp and making a wish.
I simply know that one day in a foreign land Fred saw that lamp and bought it for me.
I wasn't with him to make him think of me but he still did.
It makes me think of how God thought about us all the time
when we did not speak with Him, He still thought of us
when we wanted our own way, He still thought of us
when we were disobedient, He still thought of us
when we were not children of God, He still thought of us
when we were not even born yet, He still thought of us
before the world was created, He had thought of us
God had thought of us and Jesus was already prepared to die for us
when people think of us,
when people remember to include us in their lives.
Should we not be the same because God thinks about us at all times.
He always has and He always will.